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Gene Williamson

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We Claim Right of Possession
by Gene Williamson

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Not rated by the Author.
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This is an excerpt from the prologue to my book-length narrative poem about one of the most colorful characters in America's early history. He was William Claiborne, the Virginia trader who waged a one-man war with Maryland over an island he had located, purchased, and named in the upper Chesapeake Bay.

In geologic mists outside
the memory of man's wanderings
to define himself

in new world derringdo and
ancestral visions of trafficking fortune
time ripped from an alien shore

a ragged insignificant isle
shaped by turbulence and erosive waters
resting now untroubled in the blue

expanse of a great bay sighted
by chance 1627 in trade exploration
no island paradise

a three mile measure end to end
two miles wide
yet large enough to launch an empire


handshake purchase ten pounds sterling
to Algonkian fur traders who
assume squatter privilege

call the isle Monoponson
renamed Kent by the Virginia buyer
strategic trading post populated fortified

in the upper Chesapeake
occcasioned America's first border conflict
when usurped 1633

by Lord Baltimore's proprietary province
bearing the English king's own seal
wilderness haven for Catholics

christened Terra Maria to please the queen
Maryland carved
from chartered Virginia territory.

\

 

 

 

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Reviewed by Ed Matlack 4/17/2008
Where, if it still exists, is that island in the present...I like old stories such as this and up till now never heard of this place...Ed
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